Phono Preamplifier

A NAC282 can power a Prefix via its AUX2 socket (which also takes in signal too, so one less i/c). It’s a simple install inside the plinth of the LP12.

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Thanks Richard. That’s really interesting. I need to investigate further. Ta!

Have you looked at the Lehmann Audio Black Cube Statement?
I am using a Black Cube with my Technics Sl1500c and both an Ortofon Blue mm cartridge. I had auditioned the Lehmann audio a few times… great value for money. FYI I upgraded from a NAD PPi3 partnered with a Project Debut Carbon. I should mention I have the vinyl system connected to my Uniti Nova with Focal Aria’s

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Hello friends.
Just a quick update.
I spoke to my hifi dealer the other day about the phono preamp issue & he strongly suggested me the Project Tube Box DS2.
He assured me that is a way better preamp than the Phono Box DS2 I used to own.
Anyway,he sent me a demo unit & I plugged it in the last 5 days.
My first impressions were unexpectedly very overwhelming.
First of all it is very-very quiet compared to the SN3 phono.
The sound is sweeter compared to both SN3 & Phono Box DS2.
Bass is more present & punchier & highs are more friendly.
Also another great feature is the gain selection, which I tested both for 40db & 45db.
I ended up with 45db,since signal is louder & not distorted,which also means less effort from the SN3.
I will have an extended audition during the weekend & get back with more news.

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Please keep us posted. My dealer also suggested a Pro-Ject Tube Box DS2 to compliment my Nova, Technics 1200GR with Ortofon Blue.

Generally speaking the Ortofons match very good with Project phono preamps.

…and I am just listening to the Mofi Ultraphono, which is excellent.

My phono stage for the last few years has been the EAR868pl. My cartridge is a mid-range Dynavector DV20H, with this the Ultraphono gets very close.

Ken Kessler’s recommended reference phono amps:
Mofi UltraPhono;
Project Tube DS2;
EAR Phonobox;
EAT E-Glo Petit; and
EAT E-Glo.


Seems you enjoying it.
Please share your impressions of the MoFi in details.

That order?

Yes, KK has a love of valves:

As valves-vs-transistors perfectly parallels the analogue-vs-digital dichotomy, it seems logical that tube phono stages would better complement LPs than solid-state. This is not to say I’m an absolutist: my entry-level reference phono stage is the tubeless-yet-magnificent MoFi UltraPhono [HFN Mar '20]. As for the rest, I prefer the bloom or warmth associated with valves, rightly or wrongly.

Both the reviews are available online.

KK would rate the DS2 over the Ultraphono. However, a friend who is also a Naim dealer HATES the DS2. I suspect for exactly the facets that KK loves it for.

Like the DS2 the Ultraphono is enormously, and easily, flexible. I quickly set it up for my DV20H 2.8mV output and plugged it into my system:

LP12 / Aro / Geddon / DV20H >> Mofi >> Icon4 >> 300DR >> SBL.

It’s quality was IMMEDIATELY apparent, even if it was damned cold having been delivered by Royal Mail. The controlled dynamics and detail, the wonderful sound field; well, it was designed by Tim de Paravicini.

Initially there was a touch of edge, but this dissapated as the unit warmed up. I just kept going from album to album, including:
Stevie Nicks, The Other Side of the Mirror;
The Fiddler on the Roof Soundtrack (Topol);
Pink Floyd, The Wall;
Nigel Kennedy, The Four Seasons;
Rush, Moving Pictures;
Deep Purple, Machine Head;
Roxy Music, Flesh & Blood;
…and more.

A number of these albums I have digitised at 9624, and they sound very good. As my digital front end has improved so has my enjoyment of these files. But, the actual LP through my system with the Ultraphono gives me that bit more, whilst minimising pops and clicks, it doesn’t draw attention to LP defects and imperfections.

It is about a year since I last listened to my turntable properly. As much as I love the convenience, the catalogue, the dynamic range etc of digital …vinyl is that much more engaging.

The UltraPhono is excellent. Whether you would agree with KK’s ordering and his placing the DS2 above it will depend on your tastes; I am very happy.

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Hi Mr U, the gentleman on the horse.
I am a bit lost as for knowing your exact system today, because you seem to change a bit since some months :grinning_face_with_smiling_eyes:
I think you have the Allegri / 300dr / SBL/ Meridian transport/ dac ?
If you don’t use the 868, why not sell it and buy an Ear Yoshino 88pb ( phono stage)? Have you heard it?
Apparently a bit better than the phono of the 912, if we can rely on Mr Levy from Positive Feedback.

Hi FR,

Hope you are keeping well.

I have the Allegri upstairs in a box, it has been superceded by the Icon4. This is also a passive autoformer pre, BUT with AV passthrough AND remote control, a blessing with digital playlists.

My DAC is now >> Chord M-Scaler >> Chord Qutest. With a number of tweaks which gets the very best from these boxes.

I sold the 868PL for my purchase price to help fund the Chords. The driving logic was that I just preferred the autoformer passive as a line stage, a touch more resolution and lower noise floor. Also, as the family use the main system for AV duties I am MUCH happier leaving the system on AV passthrough, rather than hoping other people will get the right input at the right volume.

I have blown through my self apportioned HiFi budget for the year; but I got the Ultraphono for a very nice price new through a well known auction site.

I DO have my eye on another phono stage …but, that will be for posts when I get to try it in my system!

No, I haven’t heard the 88pb or the Phonobox …yet :wink:


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Reverse order then :wink:

Now that’s an album I would like to hear! :grin:


Thanks, all is clear now. Enjoy your new toys :+1:. I am waiting for my new speakers cables, will report too.

LOL! Need to add more water.



Good morning MrU & everyone.
I couldn’t agree more with you as far as the the Vinyl vs Digital part.
I started collecting vinyl records since I was 12 back in 1994,a period when cds becoming the new fashion in music industry & selling crazy.
I was hooked immediately with the vinyl sound & nothing can change that.
I love vinyl with all its advantages & disadvantages.
Anyway I had a 2,5 hours session with the TB ds2 yesterday & i really liked it.
I also changed the OEM tubes with the electro harmonix & soundstage became more 3d.
Another feature is you can customize the sound by rolling the tubes.
Keep spinning friends, keep spinning.

…although I have been listening to ELP’s Pictures at an Exhibition.

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I have a healthy respect for KK and I am sure the DS2 is a goodun. Be interested in your tube rolling experiments. With my EAR gear I ended up going back to Tim’s valves.

WRT Digital:
The SQ is still veryyyy good and my musical listening tastes have expanded as a result of having such an excessible catalogue.

I have about 3k albums, with one hundred in the living room and the rest in the loft. The quality is variable!

Just bought an Okki Nokki.


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Have a look at Rothwell. Stages there for MM & MC and combo.
They don’t get mentioned much but when they do it all seems positive.
I have their Simplex MM which I use with my Techy 1200 (modded) with a Goldring 2100 cart. No complaints from me at all.
I haven’t tried many phono stages but of those I have, I liked the Rothwell best.

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